Do you ever feel frustrated? When you think about that emotion, what feelings do you experience in your body? Pause for a moment before you continue reading to consider how your mind and body feel when you experience frustration.

Now that you have given some thought to the feelings that frustration brings, ask yourself what situations cause frustration most often in your life. When are you most likely to feel frustrated? Take a moment and think of a situation that causes you to feel frustrated.

Now that you have spent some time meditating on the ways that you are affected by frustration, let’s take some time to examine what frustration really is. The root of the word frustrate comes from a Latin term that means “to deceive, trick, or cheat.” In other words, when we feel frustrated, we are feeling deceived, tricked, and cheated.

We feel frustrated when things go in the opposite direction of what we expect. For example, suppose you are driving to work one day, and there is an unexpected detour due to a construction project that causes you to arrive at your job five minutes late. The problem is that when you left home, you thought you understood exactly what was going to happen, but when you encountered a detour sign, you felt as if someone tricked you!

Of course, nobody tried to intentionally deceive you, but you still experienced the feelings in your mind and body that you had been tricked. After all, for several months you had taken the same road to work without any problems at all. But all of a sudden, somebody did something to change your expectations about what you thought was “supposed” to happen. At times like this, we feel frustrated.

Let’s go back to the beginning of this article and think about the exercises I asked you to do. Recall how you felt in your mind and body when I asked you to consider how it feels to be frustrated. Now, ask yourself this question: Does frustration make me feel the same feelings that I feel when someone lies to me? Does frustration cause me to feel that I have been deceived, tricked, and cheated?

Chances are, you will begin to notice that these feelings are very similar. Now that you have begun to notice this, you will begin to be able to ask yourself another question: Who has deceived me?

Sometimes people do deceive us. Very often, though, the real culprit behind the deception is ourselves. Let’s think about that example of when you were driving to work and encountered a detour. Who told you that there would never be detours in life? Who told you that you would never encounter an obstacle to your goals?

Many times the person who is deceiving us is the same person we see in the mirror every morning. We tell ourselves stories about the way that life is “supposed” to be, but when our real-life experiences turn out to be different from our imagined experiences, we feel frustrated because we lied to ourselves.

As you move forward in life, you may continue to experience frustrating times. When you do, take a moment to recognize the feeling of frustration and ask yourself, “Who has deceived me?” Chances are that you will find that, very often, the most frustrating person in your life is yourself. Learning this will enable you to make changes to the way that you communicate with yourself.

For example, tomorrow morning you can tell yourself a new story about how long it will take you to get to work. You can say to yourself, “It usually takes 10 minutes to get to work, but sometimes unexpected detours will cause a delay.” As you learn to speak more truthfully to yourself about the way things really are, you will experience less frustration in your life.

[Are you having problems facing frustration in your life? Talking with someone can help. If you need support, click here to set up an appointment with a Christian counselor].

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